Elvis Costello has asked radio stations to stop playing his controversial song “Oliver’s Army.” He also plans to stop playing the song live.
“Oliver’s Army,” which dropped in 1979, was from Costello’s third studio album Armed Forces. The song’s lyrics were inspired by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. However, the song has created controversy due to the use of the N-word.
In the song, Costello sings, “Only takes one itchy trigger/One more widow, one less white n****r.”
In a recent interview, Costello defended the lyrics, calling the term a historical “fact,” although he said that he is set to stop performing it live so he doesn’t get accused of “something I didn’t intend.”
“If I wrote that song today, maybe I’d think twice about it,” he told The Telegraph. “That’s what my grandfather was called in the British army — it’s historically a fact — but people hear that word go off like a bell and accuse me of something that I didn’t intend.”
“On the last tour, I wrote a new verse about censorship, but what’s the point of that? So I’ve decided I’m not going to play it,” he added. “[Bleeping out the word on the radio] is a mistake. They’re making it worse by bleeping it for sure. Because they’re highlighting it then. Just don’t play the record!”
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